It doesn’t matter how good your blog posts are. If their introductions don’t grab your readers’ attention, you wasted your time writing a post no one will likely read.
Your opening statement should leap off the page and engage readers. It’s the first thing readers see—other than your title—and should give them a clear idea of what to expect from the rest of the article.
After all, what’s the point of tweeting a post if no one gets past the first couple sentences?
To ensure people read your posts, here are a few tips to get that opener to work for you—not against you.
1. Ask questions.
Have you ever found yourself completely caught up in an article? What grabbed your attention and kept you engaged?
See what I just did there? I got you thinking by asking a question.
Questions immediately engage readers and get them thinking. They’re a great way to set the tone for the article, as well. You may have to think through some different opening questions after you write your piece, but the goal is to get readers invested by making them think.
2. State facts.
“Ninety percent of all statistics on the Web are outdated,” says Abraham Lincoln of Springfield, Ill.
This funny little “fact” works as a solid opener because it has a few things we look for in fact statements. First, it’s a quote from a famous person. Second, there are statistics/percentages involved, which lend credibility to the statement.
Of course, there are a lot of different ways to approach fact statements. The key is to use them to grab attention. Point the reader in the direction you want to take them in the rest of the article.
3. Use quotes.
A block quote at the beginning of an article can work similarly to the fact statement, but it doesn’t have to be fact-based. It can be a more general quote that simply sets the stage for the rest of the article.
Block quotes should be 40 words or fewer, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule on the Internet. Typically a block quote will have a different look and feel from the rest of the text in your post, so you will probably want to use the HTML code: <blockquote>.
4. Put time and effort into your blog.
Always remember to put time and effort into creating a blog post. Your readers will be able to tell if you are just writing to fill a quota, or if you actually sat down and thought things out before writing.
Stay connected with your readers by being descriptive, talking directly to them, and adding quotes and statistics whenever you can. In doing so, your readers are sure to stay engaged and loyal to your blog.
Tara Hornor has a degree in English and writes about marketing, advertising, branding, Web and graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com. Follow her on Twitter @TaraHornor. A version of this article originally appeared on JeffBullas.com.